Restricting pesticides imports lead to lower suicide rates: Research

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London, Sep 21 (UNI) Restrictions on highly toxic pesticides under national and international policies may effectively lower the suicide rate worldwide, a new research said.

The research from the University of Bristol published in the latest issue of International Journal of Epidemiology (IJE) said there was a marked reduction in suicide rates after the import restrictions on the most toxic pesticides were made.

University of Bristol's Department of Social Medicine Professor David Gunnell and colleagues from the South Asian Clinical Toxicology Research Collaboration in Sri Lanka found that suicide rate in Sri Lanka was reduced to half by 2005 as compared to 47 per 100,000 people in 1995.

The researchers investigated whether restrictions on the import and sales of the highly toxic pesticides in 1995 and 1998 coincided with these reductions in suicide and found that fewer suicides occurred after restricing the imports. Other factors that affect suicide rates such as unemployment, alcohol misuse, divorce and war did not appear to be associated with these declines.

Pesticide self-poisoning account to for an estimated 300,000 deaths in Asia -- over a third of the world's suicides.

Professor Gunnell said, ''Changes in the availability of a commonly used method of suicide may influence not only method-specific but also overall suicide rates.'' ''Pesticides are readily available in most rural households in low income countries and are commonly used by young people who impulsively poison themselves in moments of crisis,'' he added.

Speaking on the restrictions on import of highly toxic pesticides he said, ''Our research suggests that restricting the availability of toxic pesticides should be prioritised.

We propose that other countries such as China and India where pesticide self-poisoning is a major health problem follow Sri Lanka's example in comprehensively regulating pesticide imports and sales.'' UNI

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